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"David and Goliath" redirects here. For other uses, see David and Goliath (disambiguation).

This article is about the biblical warrior. For other uses, see Goliath (disambiguation).

Goliath (; Hebrew: גָּלְיָת‬, Galyat)[a] of Gath (one of five city-states of the Philistines) was the biblical warrior defeated by the young David in the Book of Samuel. Post-Classical Jewish traditions stressed his status as the representative of paganism, in contrast to David, the champion of the God of Israel. Christian tradition sees David's battle with Goliath the victory of God's king over the enemies of God's helpless people as a prefiguring of Jesus' victory over sin on the cross and the Church's victory over Satan.[1]

The phrase "David and Goliath" (or "David versus Goliath") has taken on a more popular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.[2]

Biblical account[edit]

The Goliath narrative in 1 Samuel 17[edit]

Saul and the Israelites are facing the Philistines in the Valley of Elah. Twice a day for 40 days, morning and evening, Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, comes out between the lines and challenges the Israelites to send out a champion of their own to decide the outcome in single combat, but Saul is afraid. David, bringing food for his elder brothers, hears that Goliath has defied the armies of God and of the reward from Saul to the one that defeats him, and accepts the challenge. Saul reluctantly agrees and offers his armor, which David declines, taking only his staff, sling (Hebrew: קָלַע‎ qāla‘) and five stones from a brook.

David and Goliath confront each other, Goliath with his armor and javelin, David with his staff and sling. "The Philistine cursed David by his gods", but David replies: "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that God saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is God's, and he will give you into our hand."

David hurls a stone from his sling and hits Goliath in the center of his forehead, Goliath falls on his face to the ground, and David cuts off his head. The Philistines flee and are pursued by the Israelites "as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron". David puts the armor of Goliath in his own tent and takes the head to Jerusalem, and Saul sends Abner to bring the boy to him. The king asks whose son he is, and David answers, "I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite."

Composition of the Book of Samuel and the Goliath narrative[edit]

The Books of Samuel, together with the books of Joshua, Judges and Kings, make up a unified history of Israel stretching from the entry into Canaan to the early Babylonian exile of the 6th century BCE, which biblical scholars call the Deuteronomistic history. The first edition of the history was probably written at the court of Judah's King Josiah (late 7th century) and a revised second edition during the exile (6th century), with further revisions in the post-exilic period.[3] The Goliath story contains the traces of this in its many contradictions and illogicalities - to take a few examples, Saul finds it necessary to send for David when as the king's shield-bearer he should already be beside his royal master, and he has to ask who David is, which sits strangely with David's status at his court. These signs indicate that the Goliath story is made up of base-narrative with numerous additions made probably after the exile.

Original story
  • The Israelites and Philistines face each other; Goliath makes his challenge to single combat;
  • David volunteers to fight Goliath;
  • David defeats Goliath, the Philistines flee the battlefield.
Additions
  • David is sent by his father to bring food to his brothers, hears the challenge, and expresses his desire to accept;
  • Details of the account of the battle;
  • Saul asks who David is, and he is introduced to the king through Abner.[b]</ref>

[edit]

Goliath's height[edit]

Goliath's stature as described in various ancient manuscripts varies: the oldest manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel, the 1st-century historian Josephus, and the 4th-century Septuagint manuscripts, all give his height as "four cubits and a span" (6 feet 9 inches or 2.06 metres) whereas the Masoretic Text gives this as "six cubits and a span" (9 feet 9 inches or 2.97 metres).[8][9] Six cubits and a span is expressed as "six cubits and an hand breadth" in the Geneva Bible, 9 feet and four inches in the Expanded Bible and the New Century Version, "over nine feet tall" (over two and a half meters) in the Good News Translation, and "ten feet tall" (three meters) in God's Word Translation. Scholars generally agree that the shorter height found in the Greek text is older and more original.[8]

Goliath's injury and fall[edit]

The biblical account describes Goliath as falling on his face after he is struck by a stone that sank into his forehead. In the Septuagint version, the stone "penetrated through the helmet into his forehead".[10] British rabbi Jonathan Magonet has discussed some of the textual difficulties this raises.[11] In the first place, he notes that archaeological information suggests that Philistine helmets generally had a forehead covering, in some cases extending down to the nose. Why (he asks) should David aim at such an impenetrable spot (and how did it hit with such force to penetrate thick bone)? And why should Goliath fall forward when struck by something heavy enough to stop him, rather than backwards? An answer to both questions, Magonet suggests, lies in the Hebrew word meitzach (מֵ֫צַח mêṣaḥ), normally translated as "forehead". A word almost identical with it appears earlier in the passage—the word mitzchat (מִצְחַת miṣḥaṯ), translated as "greaves"—the flexible leg-armour that protected Goliath's lower leg (see I Samuel 17: 6). It is possible, grammatically in the passage, for the same word to be used in verse 49, a reconstruction of which, replacing מֵ֫צַח with מִצְחַת, would imply that the stone sank down behind Goliath's leg-armour (as his leg was bent), making it impossible for him to straighten his leg, and causing him to stumble and fall. Then David removed the head of Goliath to show all that the giant was killed.

Elhanan and Goliath[edit]

2 Samuel 21:19 tells how Goliath the Gittite was killed by "Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite." "Most likely, storytellers displaced the deed from the otherwise obscure Elhanan onto the more famous character, David.".[12] The fourth-century BC 1 Chronicles explains the second Goliath by saying that Elhanan "slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath", constructing the name Lahmi from the last portion of the word "Bethlehemite" ("beit-ha’lahmi"),[13] and the King James Bible adopted this into 2 Samuel 21:18–19, although the Hebrew text at this point makes no mention of the word "brother."

Goliath and the Philistines[edit]

Tell es-Safi, the biblical Gath and traditional home of Goliath, has been the subject of extensive excavations by Israel's Bar-Ilan University. The archaeologists have established that this was one of the largest of the Philistine cities until destroyed in the ninth century BC, an event from which it never recovered. A potsherd discovered at the site, and reliably dated to the tenth to mid-ninth centuries BC, is inscribed with the two names "alwt" and "wlt". While the names are not directly connected with the biblical Goliath, they are etymologically related and demonstrate that the name fits with the context of late-tenth/early-ninth-century BC Philistine culture. The name "Goliath" itself is non-Semitic and has been linked with the Lydian king Alyattes, which also fits the Philistine context of the biblical Goliath story.[14] A similar name, Uliat, is also attested in Carian inscriptions[15]Aren Maeir, director of the excavation, comments: "Here we have very nice evidence [that] the name Goliath appearing in the Bible in the context of the story of David and Goliath … is not some later literary creation."[16]

Goliath and Saul[edit]

The underlying purpose of the story of Goliath is to show that Saul is not fit to be king (and that David is). Saul was chosen to lead the Israelites against their enemies, but when faced with Goliath he refuses to do so; Goliath is a giant, and Saul is a very tall man. Saul's exact height is not given, but he was a head taller than anyone else in all Israel (1 Samuel 9:2), which implies he was over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and supposed to be the obvious challenger for Goliath, yet, David is the one who eventually defeated him. Also, Saul's armour and weaponry are apparently no worse than Goliath's (and David, of course, refuses Saul's armour in any case). "David declares that when a lion or bear came and attacked his father's sheep, he battled against it and killed it, [but Saul] has been cowering in fear instead of rising up and attacking the threat to his sheep (i.e. Israel)."[8]

Goliath and the Greeks[edit]

The armor described in 1 Samuel 17 appears typical of Greek armor of the sixth century BCE rather than of Philistines' armor of the tenth century. Narrative formulae such as the settlement of battle by single combat between champions has been thought characteristic of the Homeric epics (the Iliad), rather than of the ancient Near East. The designation of Goliath as a איש הביניים, "man of the in-between" (a longstanding difficulty in translating 1 Samuel 17) appears to be a borrowing from Greek "man of the metaikhmion (μεταίχμιον)", i.e. the space between two opposite army camps where champion combat would take place.[17]

A story very similar to that of David and Goliath appears in the Iliad, written circa 760–710 BCE, where the young Nestor fights and conquers the giant Ereuthalion.[18][19] Each giant wields a distinctive weapon—an iron club in Ereuthalion's case, a massive bronze spear in Goliath's; each giant, clad in armor, comes out of the enemy's massed array to challenge all the warriors in the opposing army; in each case the seasoned warriors are afraid, and the challenge is taken up by a stripling, the youngest in his family (Nestor is the twelfth son of Neleus, David the seventh or eighth son of Jesse). In each case an older and more experienced father figure (Nestor's own father, David's patron Saul) tells the boy that he is too young and inexperienced, but in each case the young hero receives divine aid and the giant is left sprawling on the ground. Nestor, fighting on foot, then takes the chariot of his enemy, while David, on foot, takes the sword of Goliath. The enemy army then flees, the victors pursue and slaughter them and return with their bodies, and the boy-hero is acclaimed by the people.[20]

Later traditions[edit]

Jewish[edit]

According to the Babylonian Talmud (Sotah 42b) Goliath was a son of Orpah, the sister-in-law of Ruth, David's own great grandmother (Ruth → Obed → Jesse → David). Ruth Rabbah, a haggadic and homiletic interpretation of the Book of Ruth, makes the blood-relationship even closer, considering Orpah and Ruth to have been full sisters. Orpah was said to have made a pretense of accompanying Ruth but after forty paces left her. Thereafter she led a dissolute life. According to the Jerusalem Talmud Goliath was born by polyspermy, and had about one hundred fathers.[21]

The Talmud stresses the thrasonical Goliath's ungodliness: his taunts before the Israelites included the boast that it was he who had captured the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the temple of Dagon; and his challenges to combat were made at morning and evening in order to disturb the Israelites in their prayers. His armour weighed 60 tons, according to rabbi Hanina; 120, according to rabbi Abba bar Kahana; and his sword, which became the sword of David, had marvellous powers. On his death it was found that his heart carried the image of Dagon, who thereby also came to a shameful downfall.[22]

In Pseudo-Philo, believed to have been composed between 135 BC and 70 AD, David picks up seven stones and writes on them the names of his fathers, his own name, and the name of God, one name per stone; then, speaking to Goliath, he says "Hear this word before you die: were not the two woman from whom you and I were born, sisters? And your mother was Orpah and my mother Ruth ..." After David strikes Goliath with the stone he runs to Goliath before he dies and Goliath says "Hurry and kill me and rejoice." and David replies "Before you die, open your eyes and see your slayer." Goliath sees an angel and tells David that it is not he who has killed him but the angel. Pseudo-Philo then goes on to say that the angel of the Lord changes David's appearance so that no one recognizes him, and thus Saul asks who he is.[23]

Islam[edit]

Goliath appears in chapter 2 of the Qur'an (2: 247–252), in the narrative of David and Saul's battle against the Philistines.[24] Called "Jalut" in Arabic ("جالوت"), Goliath's mention in the Qur'an is concise, though it remains a parallel to the account in the Hebrew Bible. Muslim scholars have tried to trace Goliath's origins, most commonly with the Amalekites.[25] Goliath, in early scholarly tradition, became a kind of byword or collective name for the oppressors of the Israelite nation before David.[24] Muslim tradition sees the battle with the Philistines as a prefiguration of Muhammad's battle of Badr, and sees Goliath as parallel to the enemies that Muhammad faced.[25]

Adaptations[edit]

American actor Ted Cassidy portrayed Goliath in the TV series Greatest Heroes of the Bible in 1978.[26] Italian actor Luigi Montefiori portrayed this nine-foot-tall giant in Paramount's 1985 live-action movie King David as part of a flashback. This movie includes the King of the Philistines saying, "Goliath has challenged the Israelites six times and no one has responded." It's then on the seventh time that David meets his challenge.

The PBS series Wishbone featured Goliath in its first-season episode "Little Big Dog".

Big Idea's popular VeggieTales episode was called "Dave and the Giant Pickle", where Phil Vischer voiced Goliath.

In 1972, Toho and Tsuburaya Productions collaborated on a movie called Daigoro vs. Goliath, which follows the story relatively closely but recasts the main characters as Kaiju.

In 2005, Lightstone Studios released a direct-to-DVD movie musical titled "One Smooth Stone", which was later changed to "David and Goliath". It is part of the Liken the Scriptures (now just Liken) series of movie musicals on DVD based on scripture stories. Thurl Bailey, a former NBA basketball player, was cast to play the part of Goliath in this film.

In 2009, NBC aired Kings which has a narrative loosely based on the Biblical story of King David, but set in a kingdom that culturally and technologically resembles the present-day United States.[27] The part of Goliath is portrayed by a tank, which David destroys with a shoulder fired rocket launcher.

Goliath was portrayed by Conan Stevens in the 2013 TV miniseries The Bible.

Italian Goliath film series (1960–1964)[edit]

The Italians used Goliath as an action superhero in a series of biblical adventure films (peplums) in the early 1960s. He possessed amazing strength, and the films were similar in theme to their Hercules and Maciste movies. After the classic Hercules (1958) became a blockbuster sensation in the film industry, the 1959 Steve Reeves film Terrore dei Barbari (Terror of the Barbarians) was retitled Goliath and the Barbarians in the United States, (after Joseph E. Levine claimed the sole right to the name of Hercules); the film was so successful at the box office, it inspired Italian filmmakers to do a series of four more films featuring a beefcake hero named Goliath, although the films were not really related to each other. (The 1960 Italian film David and Goliath starring Orson Welles was not one of these, since that movie was a straightforward adaptation of the Biblical story).

The four titles in the Italian Goliath series were as follows:

The name Goliath was later inserted into the film titles of three other Italian muscle man movies that were retitled for distribution in the United States in an attempt to cash in on the Goliath craze, but these films were not originally made as Goliath movies in Italy.

Both Goliath and the Vampires (1961) and Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963) actually featured the famed superhero Maciste in the original Italian versions, but American distributors didn't feel the name Maciste had any meaning to American audiences. Goliath and the Dragon (1960) was originally an Italian Hercules movie called The Revenge of Hercules.

Modern usage of "David and Goliath"[edit]

In modern usage, the phrase "David and Goliath" has taken on a secular meaning, denoting an underdog situation, a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary; if successful, the underdog may win in an unusual or surprising way.[2][28] It is arguably the most famous underdog story.[29]

Theology professor Leonard Greenspoon, in his essay, "David vs. Goliath in the Sports Pages", explains that "most writers use the story for its underdog overtones (the little guy wins) ... Less likely to show up in newsprint is the contrast that was most important to the biblical authors: David's victory shows the power of his God, while Goliath's defeat reveals the weakness of the Philistine deities."[30]

The phrase is widely used in news media to succinctly characterize underdog situations in many contexts without religious overtones. Recent headlines include: sports ("Haye relishes underdog role in 'David and Goliath' fight with Nikolai Valuev"—The Guardian[31]); business ("On Internet, David-and-Goliath Battle Over Instant Messages"—The New York Times[32]); science ("David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey"—ScienceDaily;[33] politics ("Dissent in Cuba: David and Goliath"—The Economist[34]); social justice ("David-and-Goliath Saga Brings Cable to Skid Row"—Los Angeles Times[35]).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

David hoists the severed head of Goliath as illustrated by Gustave Doré (1866).
David Presents the Head of Goliath to King Saul, q1627, Rembrandt
  1. ^Frontain, Raymond-Jean; Jan Wojcik, eds. (1980). The David Myth in Western Literature. Purdue University Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780911198553. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  2. ^ ab"David and Goliath". Oxford Advanced American Dictionary. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  "used to describe a situation in which a small or weak person or organization tries to defeat another much larger or stronger opponent: The game looks like it will be a David and Goliath contest."
  3. ^Campbell & O'Brien 2000, p. 2 and fn6.
  4. ^ abcHays, J. Daniel (December 2005). "Reconsidering the Height of Goliath"(Portable Document File). Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 48 (4): 701–14. 
  5. ^Ehrlich, C. S. (1992). "Goliath (Person)". In D. N. Freedman (ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 2, p. 1073). New York: Doubleday
  6. ^Brenton's Septuagint Translation, 1 Samuel 17:49
  7. ^Magonet, Jonathan (1992) Biblical Lives. London: SCM, 59–60
  8. ^David's Secret Demons, Baruch Halpern (2004), p. 8
  9. ^Ralph W. Klein, Narrative Texts: Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, see section "Representative Changes in Chronicles of Texts Taken from Samuel-Kings". Compare 1 Samuel 16:1, "I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite (beit-ha’lahmi), for I have found among his sons a king for me."
  10. ^Tell es-Safi/Gath weblog and Bar-Ilan University; For the editio princeps and an in-depth discussion of the inscription, see now: Maeir, A.M., Wimmer, S.J., Zukerman, A., and Demsky, A. (2008 (in press)). "An Iron Age I/IIA Archaic Alphabetic Inscription from Tell es-Safi/Gath: Paleography, Dating, and Historical-Cultural Significance". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
  11. ^Vernet Pons, M. (2012). "The etymology of Goliath in the light of Carian Wljat/Wliat: a new proposal". Kadmos, 51, 143–164.
  12. ^"Tall tale of a Philistine: researchers unearth a Goliath cereal bowl". The Sydney Morning Herald. Reuters. November 15, 2005. 
  13. ^Azzan Yadin, "Goliath's Armor and the Israelite Collective Memory", appeared in Vetus Testamentum 54:373–95 (2004). See also Israel Finkelstein, "The Philistines in the Bible: A Late Monarchic Perspective", Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 27:131:67. For a brief online overview, see Higgaion, a blog by Christopher Heard, Associate Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University.
  14. ^Israel Finkelstein; Neil Asher Silberman (3 April 2007). David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition. Simon and Schuster. pp. 198–. ISBN 978-0-7432-4363-6. 
  15. ^Homer, Iliad Book 7 ll.132–160.
  16. ^M.L. West, The East Face of Helicon. West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1997 pp. 370, 376.
  17. ^Jerusalem Talmud Yebamoth, 24b.
  18. ^For a brief overview of Talmudic traditions on Goliath, see Jewish Encyclopedia, "Goliath".
  19. ^Charlesworth, James H. 1983. The Old Testament pseudepigrapha vol 2. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-18813-7 p. 374.
  20. ^ abEncyclopedia of Islam, G. Vajda, Djalut
  21. ^ abHughes Dictionary of Islam, T.P. Hughes, Goliath
  22. ^"'Greatest Heroes of the Bible' David & Goliath (TV episode 1978)". imdb. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  23. ^Alston, Joshua (16 July 2009). "WHAT WOULD JESUS WATCH?". Newsweek. NEWSWEEK LLC. Retrieved 19 June 2016. 
  24. ^"David and Goliath". Macmillan Dictionary. Retrieved 11 February 2015.  "used for describing a situation in which a small person or organization defeats a much larger one in a surprising way"
  25. ^Bodner, Keith. "David and Goliath (1 Sam 17)". Society of Biblical Literature. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  26. ^Greenspoon, Leonard. "David vs. Goliath in the Sports Pages". Society of Biblical Literature. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  27. ^McRae, Donald (3 November 2009). "Haye relishes underdog role in 'David and Goliath' fight with Nikolai Valuev". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 November 2009.  Smaller boxer battles gigantic WBA world heavyweight champion.
  28. ^Blair, Jayson (24 June 2000). "On Internet, David-and-Goliath Battle Over Instant Messages". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2015.  Tiny online start-up battles Internet giant.
  29. ^"David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey". ScienceDaily. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2016.  Tiny spider preys on ants up to almost four times its size.
  30. ^"Dissent in Cuba: David and Goliath". The Economist. 16 January 2003. Retrieved 27 March 2015.  "A one-party election faces a small but unprecedented challenge."
  31. ^Rivera, Carla (21 November 2001). "David-and-Goliath Saga Brings Cable to Skid Row". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 March 2015.  Skid row resident battles telecoms giant to win cable access.

A screenshot of a Yahoo! Answers question.

Type of site

Collaboration
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Yahoo! Answers is a community-driven question-and-answer (Q&A) website or a knowledge market from Yahoo!, that allows users to both submit questions to be answered and answer questions asked by other users.

History[edit]

The website Yahoo! was officially incorporated on March 2, 1995, and was created by Jerry Yang and David Filo. The website began as a search directory for various websites, and soon grew into an established Internet resource that features the "Yahoo! Answers" platform.[1] Yahoo! Answers was launched on June 28, 2005, while in internal alpha testing by Director of Engineering, Ofer Shaked.[2][3][4] Yahoo! Answers was launched to the general public while in beta testing on December 8, 2005,[5][6] which lasted until May 14, 2006. Yahoo! Answers was finally incorporated for general availability on May 15, 2006.[7]

Yahoo! Answers was created to replace Ask Yahoo!, Yahoo!'s former Q&A platform which was discontinued in March 2006.[8] The site gives members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage participation and is based on Naver'sKnowledge iN. Yahoo! Answers is available in 12 languages, but several Asian sites operate a different platform which allows for non-Latin characters. The platform is known as Yahoo! Chiebukuro(Yahoo!知恵袋) in Japan[9] and as Yahoo! Knowledge in Korea, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong.[citation needed] An Arabic language Q&A platform called Seen Jeem is available through the Yahoo! subsidiary Maktoob.

On December 8, 2016, Yahoo! released an app for the platform called Yahoo! Answers Now (formally known as Yahoo! Hive) for iOS and Android.[10][11][12][13][14]

The number of poorly formed questions and inaccurate answers has made the site a target of ridicule.[15][16]

Site operation[edit]

Yahoo! Answers allows any questions that do not violate Yahoo! Answers community guidelines.[17] To encourage good answers, helpful participants are occasionally featured on the Yahoo! Answers Blog. Though the service itself is free, the contents of the answers are owned by the respective users – while Yahoo! maintains a non-exclusive royalty-free worldwide right to publish the information.[18] Chat is explicitly forbidden in the Community Guidelines, although categories like Politics and Religion & Spirituality are mostly opinion.[19] Users may also choose to reveal their Yahoo! Messenger ID on their Answers profile page.

Misuse of Yahoo! Answers is handled by a user moderation system, where users report posts that are in breach of guidelines or the Terms of Service. Posts are removed if they receive sufficient weight of trusted reports (reports from users with a reliable reporting history). Deletion may be appealed: an unsuccessful appeal receives a 10-point penalty; a successful one reinstates the post and reduces the 'trust rating' (reporting power) of the reporter. If a user receives a large number of violations in a relatively short amount of time or a very serious violation, it can cause the abuser's account to be suspended. In extreme, but rare cases (for a Terms of Service violation), the abuser's entire Yahoo! ID will be suddenly deactivated without warning.

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In addition to points awarded for activity,[21] Yahoo! Answers staff may also award extra points if they are impressed with a user's contributions.[22] The Yahoo! Answers community manager has stated that "power users" who defend the company should be thanked and rewarded.[23]

Level table[edit]

Level 1Level 2Level 3Level 4Level 5Level 6Level 7
Points1–249250–9991,000–2,4992,500–4,9995,000–9,99910,000–24,99925,000+
Questions5101520202020
Answers2080120160160160160
Commentaries10203040404040
Stars10100100100100100100
Evaluation permissionNoYesYesYesYesYesYes

Note: All limitations are per day.

Users begin on level 1 and receive 100 free points. Prior to this, they began on level 0, could only answer one question, and then were promoted to level 1.

Before April 20, 2012, users levels 5 and above could give an unlimited amount of questions, answers, and comments. Yahoo! Answers established an upper limit to curb spam and unproductive answers.[24] Before April 2014 users were also able to vote for a best answer if the asker did not choose one, but this was discontinued.

Badges[edit]

Top Contributor[edit]

The point system ostensibly encourages users to answer as many questions as they possibly can, up to their daily limit. Once a user achieves and maintains a certain minimum number of such contributions (See Note*, further...), they may receive an orange "badge" under the name of their avatar, naming the user a Top Contributor (TC). Users can lose this badge if they do not maintain their level of participation.[25] Once a user becomes a "Top Contributor" in any category, the badge appears in all answers, questions, and comments by the user, regardless of category. A user can be a Top Contributor in a maximum of 3 categories.[25] The list of Top contributors is updated every Monday.[25] Although Yahoo! Answers staff has kept secret the conditions of becoming a TC, many theories exist among users, for example:

  • Maintaining a weekly (mystery) "quota" of answers in the category.
  • User wanting to become a TC must have more than or equal to 12% Best answers.
  • User should be at least on level 2, although there have been claims[citation needed] that first-level users with TC Badge have been seen.
  • User should concentrate only on one particular category to become a Top Contributor for that category.

Out of these, none have an official status. This feature began March 8, 2007.

Staff[edit]

Badge is seen under the name staff members of Yahoo! Answers.[26]

Official[edit]

This type of badge is found on the name of celebrities (like mentioned above) and government departments like the health department.[26]

Knowledge Partners[edit]

These badges are found under the name of the companies or organizations who share their personal knowledge and experience with the members of Yahoo! Answers.[26]

Academic studies[edit]

A number of studies have looked at the structure of the community and the interaction between askers and responders. Studies of user typology on the site have revealed that some users answer from personal knowledge – "specialists" – while others use external sources to construct answers – "synthesists", with synthesists tending to accumulate more reward points.[27] Adamic et al. looked at the ego networks of users and showed that it is possible to distinguish "answer people" from "discussion people" with the former found in specialist categories for factual information, such as mathematics and the latter more common in general interest categories, such as marriage and wrestling. They also show that answer length is a good predictor of "best answer" choice.[28] Kim and Oh looked at the comments given by users on choosing best answers and showed that content completeness, solution feasibility and personal agreement/confirmation were the most significant criteria.[29]

Quality of answers[edit]

Researchers found that questions seeking factual information received few answers and that the knowledge on Yahoo! Answers is not very deep.[19]

Despite the presence of experts, academics and other researchers, Yahoo! Answers' base consists of a much more general group; hence, it has been criticized for the large number of dubious questions, such as "how is babby formed how girl get pragnent" [sic], which sparked an Internet meme.

This "Internet language" of incorrect spelling and improper grammar also contributes to Yahoo! Answers' reputation of being a source of entertainment rather than a fact based question and answer platform,[30][31] and for the reliability, validity, and relevance of its answers. A 2008 study found that Yahoo! Answers is suboptimal for questions requiring factual answers and that the quality decreases as the number of users increases.[32] One journalist observed that the structure Yahoo! Answers provides, particularly the persistence of inaccuracies, the inability to correct them, and a point structure that rewards participation more readily than accuracy, all indicate that the site is oriented towards encouraging use of the site, not offering accurate answers to questions.[33] The number of poorly formed questions and inaccurate answers has made the site a target of ridicule.[15][16] Likewise, posts on many Internet forums and Yahoo! Answers itself indicate that Yahoo! Answers attracts a large number of trolls.

The site does not have a system that filters the correct answers from the incorrect answers.[34] At one time, the community could vote for the best answer among the posted answers; but that option was disabled in March 2014.[35] For most of the life of Yahoo! Answers, once the "best answer" was chosen, there was no way to add more answers nor to improve or challenge the best answer chosen by the question asker; there is a display of thumbs down or thumbs up for each answer, but viewers cannot vote. In April 2014, this was changed to allow for additional answers after a best answer is chosen, but the best answer can never be changed. Also, while "best answers" can be briefly commented upon, the comment is not visible by default and is hence hardly read.[citation needed] (Even the user who posts the question isn't notified, before or after the best answer is picked, about a comment on the question or on the best answer.) If the best answer chosen is wrong or contains problematic information, the only chance to give a better (or correct) answer will be the next time the same question is asked. The older answer will likely get higher priority in search engines. Any new answer will most probably not be seen by any original questioner.[original research?]

Promotions and events[edit]

Yamster[edit]

The official Yahoo! Answers mascot is a cartoon hamster called Yamster. Yamster is a combination, or portmanteau, of the words "Yahoo" and "hamster". The mascot is also used as an avatar for Yahoo! Answers staff.[36]

During beta testing of Yahoo! Answers in 2005, the Director of Product Management would use a Gemmy Kung Fu Hamster to summon employees to meetings. The toy was a battery-operated, dancing, musical plush hamster clothed in a karate uniform. A Yahoo! Answers employee selected a photo of the toy as the staff avatar.[37] A user then questioned the potential trademark/copyright infringement of using such an avatar. At that time, the photo was replaced with the Yahoo! Answers green smiley face. At the beginning of 2006, the green smiley face was replaced by the cartoon Yamster clad in a karate uniform.[38] As of November 2009[update], the history of Yamster, complete with photos of the toy, was available on the Yahoo! Answers Team Vietnam blog.[39]

Special guests[edit]

Several celebrities and notables have appeared on Yahoo! Answers to ask questions. These users have an "official" badge below their avatar and on their profile page. During the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney posted questions on Yahoo! Answers, in addition to YouTube.[40] In an awareness campaign, "UNICEF Up Close 2007", nine UNICEF ambassadors asked questions.[41][42] The launch of Answers on Yahoo! India included a question from A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the President of India at that time.[43] Other guests have included international leaders (Queen Rania of Jordan,[44] candidate for United Nations Secretary-GeneralShashi Tharoor[45]), Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Al Gore,[46][47]Muhammad Yunus[48]) and other international activists (Bono,[46]Jean-Michel Cousteau[49]), intellectuals (Stephen Hawking,[46]Marilyn vos Savant[47]), and numerous other celebrities.

Site statistics[edit]

Yahoo! used comScore statistics in December 2006 to proclaim Yahoo! Answers "the leading Q&A site on the web".[50] Currently[when?] Yahoo! Answers is ranked as the second most popular Q&A site on the web by comScore.[51][52] The slogan "The world's leading Q&A site" has since been adopted by Answers.com.

In 2009, Yahoo! Answers staff claimed 200 million users worldwide[53] and 15 million users visiting daily.[54] Google Trends has reported around 4 million unique visitors (Global) daily.[55] In January 2010, the web analytics website Quantcast reported 24 million active users (US) per month; in November 2015, that had fallen by 77% to 5.6 million.[56] Quantcast traffic statistics for Yahoo! Answers, January 2010:

  • 24,201,619 people per month (US)
  • 62,171,200 visits per month (US)

For January 1–30, 2015:

  • 11,273,839 people per month (US)

For October 31 – November 29, 2015:

  • 5,555,080 people per month (US)

For December 1 – December 30, 2015:

  • 4,546,016 people per month (US)

Google Ad Planner traffic statistics for Yahoo! Answers, December 2009:[57]

  • 26,000,000 unique visitors (users) (US)
  • 110,000,000 total visits (US)

Compete Site Analytics traffic statistics for Yahoo! Answers, December 2009:[58]

  • 33,090,163 unique visitors (US)
  • 64,928,634 visits (US)

Yahoo! Answers represents between 1.03%[59] to 1.7%[60] of Yahoo! traffic.

In popular media[edit]

The comedy/advice podcastMy Brother, My Brother and Me features a reoccurring segment in which co-host Griffin McElroy selects and reads a particularly humorous or outrageous question from Yahoo! Answers. The hosts then discuss and attempt to answer the question, to comedic effect.[61][62]

The Internet trollKen M is a regular user on Yahoo! Answers, posting comments that confound and annoy other users. There are several communities on social media sites such as Reddit and Facebook dedicated to observing his antics, especially on Yahoo! Answers.[63][64] Ken was named as one of Time's most influential people online in 2016.[65]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^"First/oldest Y!A account - Director of Engineering, Ofer Shaked's Yahoo! Answers account, created on June 28, 2005". Yahoo! Answers. 2005-06-28. Retrieved 2016-03-29. 
  3. ^"SiliconBeat: Yahoo Answers". SiliconBeat. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  4. ^"The Birth of Yahoo Answers - Search Engine Watch". Search Engine Watch. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
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The Yahoo! Answers green smiley.

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